I kind of just need to put this somewhere and it’s definitely not going on facebook, so I thought my oft-abandoned tumblr would be the place to write the things i’m needing to write.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I think maybe nothing is more beautiful than strategically placed christmas lights. I think Love, Actually is a genius, wonderful movie. Buble’s christmas album is a gift to us all. So is The Beach Boys’.
I don’t have a big family- every christmas it’s been just my mother, my father and me. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been the “Christmas Elf” — carrying presents to my mother and father as they sat on the couch and drank their mimosas. I generally wear some kind of a festive headpiece (sometimes a Santa hat, sometimes antlers, most recently a Christmas crown) and do a fantastic job.
Christmas is a happy time in my family.
Christmas was a happy time in my family.
Three years ago, I returned home from college for the first time for christmas break. I was back from three months in LA, and very very excited to be in my beloved New York City with the Thunderbolts. The night I got home, my father left. After twenty something years and one fabulous child together, my father had decided his soul mate was another woman (who apparently has blue hair) and he had to leave. Right away. That night.
And so he left.
He packed a bag and walked out the door and left my mother and I standing in the one clutter-free spot in the apartment — the spot where our christmas tree was going to go. The christmas tree we had all planned to get together the next day. We did get it the next day. My mother and I, lugging a huge christmas tree down the street and up four flights of stairs.
We also watched all our christmas favorites: Love, Actually, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Love, Actually Again, then I think probably White Christmas at least three more times. We sat on our couch in the dark and stared at our christmas tree. We drank prosecco. We went to the theater and we went out to eat and we were very sad and also pretty angry.
Conversations were had between my parents about selling the apartment. This was bullshit, because this was my house. This was the house where I had had all my stupid birthday parties and our famous 50 people Patterson Thanksgivings.
Christmas morning came, and my father wanted to see me. Mom didn’t want to let him upstairs. So, because it’s my family, we had our christmas morning in the bar. I live above a bar. It’s not a nice bar. It’s home, but it’s a pretty gross place. Traditionally, the Patterson’s do stockings first. So we did stockings first. My mother and I gave each other silly little things and she gave dad a book she had gotten him before he had left to go live with That Bitch On The Upper West Side. We all drank mimosas out of plastic cups and I was in my pajamas and my parents shared a cigarette, even though they don’t smoke. Mom had been in charge of his stocking. He reached in, and pulled out coal. Just coal.
My mom is fucking awesome.
Then he left and we went upstairs and had a very strange christmas morning by ourselves. Several days later he met us for breakfast and asked to come home. Apparently That Bitch On The Upper West Side was actually kind of a bitch. I could have told you that, but it’s fine. I’m always right. I went back to school and, eventually, my father went back to his wife. They get along much better when I’m not around and since then their marriage has flourished. They go on funky dates all the time and seem to genuinely like each other again. All of this is good news. I am very happy for my intact family.
But, understandably, the next christmas home was pretty weird. So was the one after that.
And here we are at this christmas.
Two days ago, on December 20th, my Uncle (my mother’s younger brother) passed away. He was a truly brilliant man— a scientist and a mathematician and a Shakespeare genius and an amazing father to an adopted son, Scott.
On the 19th, my mother left New York to go say goodbye. About ten minutes ago, I got a text from her telling me she wouldn’t be home for Christmas — she would instead be staying in Colorado with Scott and her mother, who both lived with my uncle. They would have a family christmas.
Of course, we support her. Family is all anyone has in this silly universe and sometimes, you need to be with different parts of your family more than others.
But, I’m also pretty sad. This is my first time home in a year and my first time spending more than four days with my parents in who knows how long. My mom is my hero and my best friend. This is probably my last christmas in New York. And she will not be here.
And so I sit writing this in exactly the same spot I used to sit when she and I were by ourselves, staring at our christmas tree.